Sony XBR75X940D 4K HDR Ultra HD TV Review

Sony XBR75X940D

75″ X940D 120Hz Smart LED TV

I hadn’t planned on doing a review of the Sony XBR75X940D anytime soon; but after recently getting the opportunity for some hands-on time with this display, I felt compelled to share with you what I experienced… first, I’ll get right to the point and simply state that I was blown away by its jaw-dropping picture quality!

Over the past few years I have seen and reviewed a large number of TVs that have had excellent picture quality. But after viewing the XBR940D, I will adamantly say this TV ranks as the second best in overall picture quality I have experienced to date, especially when you take into account its stellar HDR performance. The only other TV I have seen and experienced with better picture quality, in my opinion, is LG’s awesome OLED65E6P 4K HDR TV.

Design/Features

The 940D features Sony’s new Slim Backlight Drive technology. Unlike Sony’s XBR930D which uses an edge-lit LED backlight illumination design with local dimming capability, the XBR940D uses a much better full-array LED backlighting design with local dimming. This precision grid array system delivers light where it is needed most on the screen, and precise localized LED dimming when needed, resulting in exceptional picture quality with better contrast, very deep black levels, color and detail.

The Slim Backlight Drive technology allows Sony to place LEDs into very thin display panels (less than a 1/2″ deep at thinnest point) on both the 940D and 930D models. I am somewhat amazed at how Sony has accomplished this design in such an ultra-thin panel and still get the LEDs light output to properly illuminate the TV screen. It is even more mind boggling when I think about how they achieved the 940D’s full-array LED backlighting scheme which places clusters or zones of LED’s directly behind its very thin screen.

Sony has managed to pull this off with very good results when evidenced by the 940D’s excellent backlight screen uniformity and picture quality. More on this later.

The massive 75″ screen is made of clear acrylic and contains a glossy finish.

Note: The 940D is only available in a 75″ screen size.

I like the look of Sony’s new stand concept for its 2016 XBR models which Sony calls a Silver Slate design. Its design is simple yet attractive and provides an elegant touch to the otherwise state-of-the-art display panel. The stand also incorporates a built-in recessed cable routing system to conceal all cables behind a rear cover.

Picture processing for the XBR940D is handled by Sony’s very powerful and excellent 4K X1 processing engine which incorporates the 4K X-Reality Pro Upscaler, in addition to TRILUMINOS Display and X-tended Dynamic Range PRO technologies.

Upscaling of non-native 4K content via the X- Reality Pro continues its tradition of excellence on this display and is the best I have currently experienced in the industry.

TRILUMINOS display technology creates incredibly true, natural shades of colors that are rich and vibrant and brings you closer than ever to real-world colors.

X-tended Dynamic Range Pro extends the TVs contrast range enabling brighter peak whites and deeper black levels. It also enhances the displays HDR capability.

Remote Control – Sony has ditched the two remote combo found on previous year’s premium XBR models and is minus the touchpad version. Now you get just a basic IR remote that contains the built-in mic. The remote also has a new dedicated Google Play button which is adjacent to the Netflix button. The remote is not backlit.

X930D Remote

Other features include:

  • Google Android smart TV platform with Google Cast
  • HDR or High Dynamic Range provides increased contrast with a greater range of peak brightness (highlights) and black levels, in addition to better picture detail and more vibrant colors.
  • 10-bit panel displays more colors with finer step of gradation for greater color reproduction with HDR sources
  • Full-array LED backlight with local dimming for exceptional picture contrast and black levels
  • HEVC/VP9 decoding for watching streamed 4K video sources like Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and YouTube
  • DIRECTV 4K Ready – DIRECTV subscribers with the Genie Whole-Home HD DVR can enjoy 4K service and full DVR features without an additional receiver
  • 3D capability – active 3D glasses sold separately
  • Motionflow XR 960 for blur reduction
  • PlayStation Now allows for PS3 game streaming
  • Netflix Recommended TV – This certification makes it easier for consumers to know which manufacturers HDTV’s work best with its streaming video service
  • 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct capability
  • Web browser
  • Four 7.5 watt built-in down-firing speakers

Connectivity

  • 4 HDMI 2.0a inputs (HDCP 2.2 compliant)
  • 1 Component video input
  • 1 Composite video input
  • 3 USB inputs (1 is USB3)
  • 1 Ethernet input
  • 1 RF input for antenna/cable/satellite
  • 1 Digital optical audio output
  • 1 Stereo minijack output
Sony XBR940D rear panel

XBR940D Rear Panel
Image credit Sony

Performance

Ah, performance – this is where the XBR940D truly shines! And as mentioned earlier, this TV delivers the best picture quality I’ve seen to date with the exception of LG’s OLED 65E6P 4K HDR TV, which in my opinion and experience, has the best picture quality of any TV I’ve currently seen, period.

Sony has done an excellent job in making their latest flagship model a class leading performer with breath taking picture quality. The resolution this TV reveals is simply amazing. Detail and clarity are first rate, producing sharp and crisp images with exceptional amounts of fine detail which was readily apparent in people, objects and of landscaping scenes displayed on screen.

Image transparency was also great and provided generous amounts of image depth while portraying on-screen images with a very three dimensional appearance.

Color reproduction was something special to experience, delivering stunning tones and shades of hues that were richly vivid with plenty of dynamic punch, all without appearing oversaturated. In addition, the naturalness and accuracy of colors made images appear very realistic.

The contrast range on the 940D was outstanding, thanks in part to Sony’s X-tended Dynamic Range Pro technology which extends the TVs contrast range enabling brighter peak whites and deeper black levels.

The black level performance on this TV doesn’t get any better where LED TVs are concerned; blacks levels were rich, deep-dark and inky in nature, which made nighttime scenes from the Dark Night Rises (blu-ray disc) look sensational.

The last time I witnessed black levels this deep on a LED display that I reviewed was with Sony’s excellent and now discontinued XBR65X950B.

Peak white output was also very good on the 940D, and was readily apparent when viewing a black screen overlaid with white text – the whites were very bright and dynamic without any noticeable blooming or halo effects.

HDR content viewed on this TV was about the best that it can currently be… and was simply jaw- dropping. HDR content vastly improved the overall picture quality when compared to non-HDR images. A key area of picture enhancement came in the form of extended contrast range which was plainly visible with brighter image highlights and was most apparent during nighttime scenes.

Color reproduction was also improved with HDR content, rendering a much more vibrant and richer color palette.

In my recent review of Sony’s XBR65X930D, I go a lot more in-depth on what you can expect for a TV with good HDR performance. So instead of repeating those qualities here, I will refer you to that review to learn more. Click here.

For the record, I believe the XBR940D has better HDR performance when compared to the XBR930D, due to its full-array LED backlighting with local dimming design, which improves black level and contrast performance.

1080p content – I viewed scenes from the movie The Dark Knight Rises on blu-ray disc. If you’ve seen this movie, you know it contains a lot of dark (nighttime) scenes, and the 940D did an excellent job at portraying the subdued look of this film.

Black levels and contrast were very strong and were some of the very best I’ve seen to date. Black levels were consistently saturated with a very dark-inky shade of black. I was impressed.

The detail and clarity revealed in this film were also very good on this display, delivering a refined and textured appearance of the images on screen, in addition to crystal clear transparency. Furthermore, I really appreciated the excellent image depth I experienced while watching scenes from this movie, which allowed me to see deep into the image while rendering an almost 3D type effect.

Black screen uniformity was very good on this TV. I didn’t see any light bleed or flashlighting coming from any parts of the screen. I must say I was quite surprised with these results due to the fact that many of the LED TVs I have reviewed with very thin panel designs have exhibited some sort of light bleed and/or clouding issues.

As well as the XBR940D performed, all was not perfect… the problem I noticed was a slight darkening effect in all four corners of the TV’s screen. This uniformity issue was almost constantly visible with both light and dark picture images. I personally felt that this would not be a deal breaker for me since the dark shading was very subtle.

However, I know many of you would find this totally unacceptable on such an expensive flagship model, and I’m inclined to perfectly understand your concerns.

Side angle viewing on the 940D was decent for an LED TV. When viewed at a 45 degree angle, there was minor color saturation and contrast loss to a point I felt it wouldn’t be a problem for viewers sitting at this particular angle. After moving out to extreme angles, the effects on viewing was impacted more, but was still not to the point of being too distracting.

Motion blur and judder was not an issue with this display. Sony’s Motionflow XR 960 did a very good job at keeping picture motion anomalies out of my viewing experience with fast action sporting events such as soccer.

Update Note: There have been some reports on AVS Forum from consumers who have experienced smearing/trailing shadow issues during certain images of moving black objects against a white background.

Conclusion

The XBR940D is Sony’s best offering for 2016, and I was very impressed with its overall picture quality.

Its stellar image quality is at the top of its high-end class rating and is certainly one of the best TVs of 2016. It does have some direct competition from the likes of LG’s high-end OLED displays such as the 65E6P mentioned earlier, and Samsung’s KS9800. However, it does have enough strengths oh-hand to hold its own against the competition.

The 940D is as close to flawless as any premium high-end TV can possibly get; being marred only with some slight screen uniformity issues in the form of darkening in all four corners of the TV screen, and the typical LED side angle viewing contrast and color saturation loss.

Final thoughts – If you’ve got the financial means to afford the high price tag of this TV, then I strongly suggest you put Sony’s excellent XBR75X940D on your short list. You will not be disappointed. Highly recommended!

You may also like these reviews:

Sony XBR65X750D 4K UHD Review

Sony XBR65X850D 4K UHD Review

Sony XBR65X930D 4K UHD Review

While you’re here, check out Sony’s entry level 4K Ultra HD TVs. Click here to learn more.

Updated on 12/3/2016

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39 comments

  • I just purchased this set, but the stand that came with it has the TV lean forward towards the viewer. Is this by design or should the TV panel be straight up and down when looking at it from the side like other Sony models? In other words, shouldn’t the TV panel make a 90 degree angle with the table it sits on?

    • Hi Corey,
      Your XBR75X940D should be sitting at a 90 degree angle. I assume the table it is placed on is flat and does not lean forward or have any dips on its surface. And if you haven’t done so already, make sure the back panel of the TV and the stand isn’t defective, and is properly attached to the TV.

      • Yes, the table is flat. There is only one way to set up the stand so I would think the stand would have to be defective.

        • I had the same issue when i set mine up. I hadn’t set the stand up correctly. There are two clips in the top piece of the stand that snap into openings in the base. If you place the tabs on top of the openings rather than into the openings, you can still mount the tv, but it leans forward. Easy to fix and you don’t even need to take the tv off to do it.

  • Hi how are you, I have just purchased this set and was extremely excited. I’m coming from a Sharp Aquos Quattron Plus 60in which out of all 1080p TVs had hands down the best 1080p picture in the industry. So my disappointment comes from the fact that my 940D seems to never have the proper color or hue on top of the 1080p picture looking really bad. Tons of shimmering and a grainy look, blurry faces, muddy colors, on screen texts have grain to them. I have tried everything in the calibration options I can and nothing is working. Do you have any suggestions for me. It seems like this set was made for 4K and didn’t have 1080p as a thought. I really need some options on what to do. Thanks YG

    • Hi Yinni,
      I’m doing fine. Thanks for asking. First, I’d like to ask if you’ve viewed any 4K content on your 940D. If so, does it appear with all the picture artifacts you mentioned in your comments when viewing 1080p content. If so that would lead me to believe you may have a defective TV. The reason being is that the display I used for this review didn’t have any of the issues you mentioned with 4K or 1080p content and showed very good picture quality.

      I also checked out the XBR940D thread in AVS Forums and didn’t run across any owners that are having the same issues you are experiencing.

      But before I conclude that you may have a defective TV, take a moment to check out you signal cable connections to the TV and be sure everything is fitting properly. Also, what type of connections are you using? (HDMI, Composite, RF) and are these cables defect free. Furthermore, how good is the signal quality of your source.

      If everything checks out, then as I said earlier, you may have a defective TV. In that case, exchange it for another.

      Hope this info helps.

      Regards’

  • Hello,
    I hope all is well with you and I have a question . Can you tell me if your TV was calibrated and what those settings are or was this review, straight out the box .
    Thanks a lot Ron

    • Hi Ron,
      At this time I only do basic calibration settings using a calibration disc. You can use the following settings on your 940D.

      Picture Mode: Custom or Cinema Home
      Auto Picture Mode: Off
      Light Sensor: Off
      Brightness: 30
      Contrast: 90
      Gamma: 0
      Black Level: 50
      Black Adjustment: Off
      Advanced Contrast Enhancer: Off
      Auto Local Dimming: Medium or Low
      X-tended Dynamic Range: Off
      Color Temperature: Expert 1
      Color: 50
      Hue: 0
      Color Space: Auto
      Live Color: Off
      Sharpness: 50
      Motionflow: Smooth or True Cinema depending on type of content you are viewing. True Cinema is good with film based content. Smooth is good for sports. Leave this setting “Off” if not experiencing any motion artifacts.

  • I have enjoyed my 940d for 4 months. All at once I changed channels and the picture dissolved, just went away. I have tried to bring it back with no success. Has anyone experienced this in their tv? Can anyone offer a solution.

    • Hi Reginald,
      Sorry to hear about the issue you are having with your 940D. Have not heard of anyone having this problem. Try unplugging it from the power source for several minutes, then try turning it back on. If no success, your TV is probably defective. I also suggest you go to the AVS Forum website and post your problem in the 940D owners thread to see if anyone there has had the same issue.

  • Great review. Im looking to purchase either the XBR75x940D or the Samsung un75KS9000.

    Im having difficulty choosing. Have you had an opportunity to view the Samsung. If so which do you think is an overall better picture quality. The most important thing is picture quality. Smart TV options are not high on the list. I am trying to get a set with good blacks no clouding issues. When I mention clouding the TV I have now, Sony XBR70X850B has some clouding issues. When there is a totally black screen there are about 3 very faint 6″ diameter clouds. I was told this is the panel lottery and it is common in LED screens.

    Thanks in advance

    • Hi Steve,
      I haven’t had the opportunity to view the UN75KS9000, so I can’t comment on whether or not it has better picture quality than the Sony XBR75X940D. However, as you know from my review, the 940D has excellent picture quality, and the display I used for this review didn’t have any clouding issues.
      And yes, it is common for LED panels to have problems with light bleed and/or clouding. This can vary from the type of panel used in the manufacturing process, and even from panel to panel within the same model.

      I’d also like to add that the KS9000 has overall very good customer reviews that you can check out here.

  • Thanks.
    Would you think the Sony with the full array LED backlighting is a better unit as compared to one with an edge lit display like the Samsung ? Would you make your decision based on that alone?

    • Good point Steve. And taking your comments into consideration, personally I would highly consider choosing the Sony over the Samsung based on the Sony’s use of full-array LED backlighting, since they usually deliver better picture quality than edge-lit LED designs, especially in the areas of contrast range and black level performance. So based solely on the panel illumination design, the XBR75X940D should have better overall picture quality, at least where contrast range and black levels are concerned, in my opinion.

      • Nice review!!!! Like Steve, I am also deciding between the Sony 940D and the Samsung KS9000. Both are priced the same, unless one is on sale, and produce a great picture. Samsung claims to have a brighter picture which in return produces a more like 3D image but Sony has the better backlight system. I hope you could do a review on the Samsung as well to compare apples to apples. If I had an xtra $3k I would get the new Sony Z9 and not worry about the issues.

        Thanks, JB

        • Hi JB,
          Sorry, but at this time I don’t plan on doing a review on the KS9000. As you stated in your comments, both models have great picture quality, so I doubt you would be disappointed with either of these displays picture performance. Furthermore, as I mentioned in my reply to Steve, personally I would most likely choose the Sony 940D over Samsung KS9000 for its full-array LED backlighting with local dimming.

          Thanks for your complement on this review.

  • Are screen uniformity issues going to always be there on every set, or can these be improved upon in the same models with a later manufacture date?

    • Hi Andrew,
      I believe the screen uniformity issue will vary from TV to TV. However, the unit I used for this review did have some slight darkening in all four corners. I’ve also seen one other unit being used as a store display with the same uniformity issue. And yes, Sony could correct this issue during the manufacturing process.

  • The XBR75X940D suffers from a very serious Manufacturers defect which Sony acknowledges, however they will not correct it. The TV (only the 940D) has an issue with a very slow pixel response time on images with Black objects moving on a white background, this defect can be seen everywhere, even then menu of the tv itself. Rotating between the inputs will show the issue. Here is a quick youtube video that will show this issue (https://youtu.be/QkWE94l-txI), look for trailing shadows. “Warning” once you see this issue you cannot unsee it.
    I purchased the 75″ 940D about a month ago. Seeing the issue immediately I quickly contacted the store I got it from and they exchanged it for me right away. After setting up the new one I noticed the exact same issue, I called Sony which in the beginning was very willing to help. We went through a series of settings and configurations, nothing could remedy the shadowing issue. The man on the phone promised me he would take care of this issue for me an offered to refund a portion of my money or exchange for another model, but first he would have to do another exchange. Eventhough I already exchanged it they said a factory fresh model from Sony (a different batch) may be different. As I waited for the new tv to be sent to my home I took the liberty of going to a couple of different stores to check out their demos of the 940D, all of which had the same issue I’ve been reffering to. Finally a week later my second exchange from Sony came. Again I set it up and just like the previous 2 the problem was still there. At this point 6 tvs I have now confirmed the issue with. So I called Sony back again, this time the person I spoke to told me he would escalate this issue to higher level of Sony Customer Support after we went through a series of tests again. This is where it all goes downhill. No one called me back so 2 days later I called Sony back, The person I spoke to this time told me that Sony is aware of the issue and it is accepted as normal operation. You can image how upset this made me after all the Great Customer Support I received up to this point. I’ve emailed Sony, I’ve called them on the phone, I’ve sent out request for Sony to call me back, but so far I am being ignored. They will not help me, they won’t even call me back. My advice to you is Stay Away from the Sony XBR75X940D, for a TV that costs this much the defect is a huge problem. If you don’t mind the lower end models the 850D and 750D or the Smaller 930D those models do not suffer from the same issue. Sony totally Screwed me and this was my 4th XBR tv I’ve owned. I will be exchanging it for a Samsung UN78KS9800FX. A much better TV with Better customer Support.

    I am an AV Technician I install and setup tvs like this all the time. Calibration will not help. Sony doesn’t care about there customers and I had to learn that the hard way. If you own the Sony XBR75X940D do yourself a favor and see the issue yourself and contact Sony. Maybe you will have a better experience than I did.

    Mark

    • Hi Mark,
      During the time I evaluated the 940D and with the particular content (images) I viewed on it, I didn’t see or experience this issue. However, after writing this review, I learned of this issue from owners of this TV who posted on AVS Forum.

      Mark, thank you very much for sharing your experience with the 940D and posting this valuable info on HDTVs and More for all readers to see.

      Regards’

    • I wouldn’t call it a defect. It’s called the way lighting and panels work. You can thank tree huggets and your government for eliminating true panels such as plasma. And who watches black dots like we play Atari all day long? Maybe try being a pot of honey instead of a jar of vinegar. I love my 940D and the 850a i have as well that’s in the basement.

    • Mark,

      I have a Samsung UN75JU7100 that suffers from the same trailing ghost images as you describe. I watch a lot of animated programs and it’s especially prevalent with animated source material because of the thick black outlines used in most animation and the prevalence of plain white backgrounds. Although that video shows to a small extent the effect it is far more noticeable when watching the TV in person. I was researching other options for 75″ 4K 3D TVs when I came across your comment and I’m glad I did. Maybe this is a common problem with 75″ 4K 3D panels and being among the minority of people who enjoys watching movies in 3D I may be out of luck with 4K + 3D. And I agree with your assessment that once you notice the issue it’s impossible to ignore it. I guess I’m a jar of vinegar as well (although I’ve never seen vinegar sold in a jar).

  • No mention of gaming for an expensive set like this? 940C is a better TV, more zones, more brightness and game + HDR mode.

    This set also has some issues like random reboots, remote losing control, and the big issue is the smearing.

    I want to make clear the 940D does not have the ability to do game + HDR mode like even lesser sets like the 930D. This is huge, it basically means that any game will have around 60 + MS lag due to interpolation being on when games are in HDR mode.

    Z9 is now the true flagship Sony brining back features they cut with the 940D.

    • Hi Rick,
      I don’t test for gaming, hence no mention of how it performs in this area. However, I do from time-to-time gather info from reputable sources regarding a TVs gaming performance including input lag, and place that info in the review. But as you’ve noticed here, that info is absent, due to the fact that at the time of my writing this review, my usual sources didn’t have this info available.

      With that said, thanks for the additional info regarding Sony’s 940D.

  • So I too noticed the blurring or shadowing described by Mark (mine was while watching hockey). Is there any other technology out there that will alleviate this problem? Do OLED’s suffer from this blurring with a dark object (hockey jersey) on a white background (ice)???

    • Hi David,
      Not all LED TVs suffer from this problem, and it really isn’t a common technology issue, in my opinion; in fact, the 940D is the only TV that I’m aware of with this issue. Sony’s 940D has a design defect that can be corrected if Sony chooses to do so.
      And to the best of my knowledge, I haven’t heard of any OLED TVs that suffer from this particular blurring issue.

      • I am returning my Sony 940D – I am trying to decide between the Samsung UN75KS9000 and waiting for an OLED. My problem is I really want to do at least a 75″ TV and I don’t want to spend $20K for it – anyone know if any of the new OLED’s are going to come in 75″ and stay in the $5-7K range? What is the general opinion of the Samsung UN75K9000 for sports (and does it have the trailing or smearing issue noted above on the Sony 940D)??? Thanks!

        • Hey David,
          To my knowledge, there are no available or upcoming OLED’s in the 75″ screen size. LG’s current and upcoming models do and will have a 77″ model as well as smaller sizes. Sony’s new OLED Bravia models will have 55, 65 and 77″ screen sizes. The 77″ models are far beyond the $5-7K range as you expected. The KS9000 has good motion handling capability, and I haven’t heard of any problems viewing sporting events, or the trailing/smearing issue.

  • Milton Clark,

    Do you suggest following the Settings for such things as Sports and TV? The sports setting seemingly works great, but I’m not as sure for when watching standard TV, do you suggest the Standard setting? The Cinema Home/Cinema Pro settings seem too dark for me. Please help!

    • Hi Blakester,
      I don’t recommend the ‘Sports’ setting as it can make the image appear too vivid, and isn’t necessary for watching sports programming. I personally like the ‘Custom’ mode setting because it gives you as close to an accurate and natural picture image without having to calibrate your TV, which I do suggest to achieve the best picture quality. The ‘Cinema Home’ and ‘Cinema Pro’ settings will give you similar results.

      But as you mentioned, many individuals will find these settings too dark. For that reason I do suggest using the ‘Standard’ picture mode setting which I do personally like, and it will give you a much more vibrant picture image without appearing harsh or unnatural. If you do use the ‘Standard’ setting, I recommend you do at least a basic TV calibration using a calibration disc, if possible. This will give you the best picture image when using this mode.

      Hope this helps.

  • I ordered this TV yesterday, only to find all these threads about ghosting and smearing. This is terrible. I finally make up my mind, and I see the huge thread about this issue. Do you know if it’s been fixed, or can it not be fixed. I can still cancel my order..

    Regards, Rick

    • Hi Rick,
      To the best of my knowledge, Sony is aware of this issue yet hasn’t implemented a fix. And according to the 940D’s owners thread on AVS Fourm, some owners report seeing the problem, while others do not.

  • Hi im planning to buy this tv pretty soon,can someone tell me the input lag and the very best settings to play video games on it.Thank you very much and God Bless.

    • Hi Cristopher,
      One of my sources I use states the input lag for the 940D is approx. 34ms, which is good for gaming. Also, be sure to set the TV to “Game” mode.

  • Does anyone know if there will be a firmware upgrade for Dolby Vision on the Sony XBR-75X940D? Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Jack,
      There is limited info available to date on which devices will and have received the Dolby Vision firmware upgrade. Oppo’s UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray player has received this update. Sony’s Z9D 4K HD TVs will also be getting this upgrade this year.
      To my knowledge, there are no other devices confirmed at this time to get DV firmware upgrade.

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